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Mad Men in Minsk
The wild adventures of Vlad and Ollie
Vlad has been tweeting up a storm lately about events in Minsk. The Paris/Odesa-based blogger popped up on the radar screen this spring in Kyiv as a potential candidate for COVID-19 superspreader of the year. He knows almost nothing about Belarus, which makes him an ideal candidate to opine on what’s happening there.
Bluetick Ollie, meanwhile, writes for The Independent based in Moscow. From the looks of it, he has a room in the Mink Hotel overlooking Independence Square, from which he periodically posts ominous-looking photos of riot police deployments.
Both Vlad and Ollie reported on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2014, reinforcing the Kremlin narrative that pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine had launched a popular insurrection. Fortunately, their dispatches from Minsk have been generally in line with reality, following the narrative purveyed by The Guardian and The New York Times (blueticks @INechepurenko and @antontroian)
Among local journalists, media trainer turned freelancer and researcher Hanna has been prolific. She and Vlad were recently appointed non-resident fellows at the Atlantic Council’s U.S.-based lobbying firm/think tank. Unlike Vlad and Ollie, she is probably familiar with the works of Karatkevich, Adamovich, Bykov, Baradullin, Budinas, Alexievich, etc. The cultural baggage will enable her tease out and explain the historical and cultural roots of the popular tumult.